In early April, a Hollywood executive — known only as "Jane Doe" — filed a class action suit against Match.com after a guy she met through the site allegedly raped her during their second date. The guy in question — who is claiming that nothing happened but "a consenting sexual encounter between two consenting adults" — had been convicted six times for sexual battery, according to J.D.'s attorney. Terrifying.
And above and beyond the charges being pressed against him, J.D.'s team is arguing that Match.com bears some responsibility for the alleged assault. The prosecution says that if Match.com had required criminal background checks, things might've worked out very differently. A civil suit filed last week on behalf of J.D. demanded that Match.com begin screening its members for sexual predators and asked the court to shut the site down until it began doing so.
In response, Match.com announced on Monday that it will begin screening existing and new subscribers against the national sex offender registry within the next three months. All the same, the company stressed that the system for doing so is still "highly flawed" and should "not provide a false sense of security to our members."
I know privacy advocates and civil libertarians will be annoyed to hear about this, but I think it sounds like a great move for women's safety. Just as much as dating sites make it easier for all of us to meet people, I imagine they similarly make it easier for men with twisted desires to find victims — and although making it harder for them to do so doesn't necessarily mean they'll sit around twiddling their thumbs, it also doesn't mean the sites shouldn't be doing everything they can to make sure users are safe. Had they only implemented such procedures earlier, it seems fair to say, J.D. might not have had to suffer through such a terrible crime.